Working Group 8: Towards locally derived and locally meaningful development goals

Pekka Sepälä, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (,
Sabaheta Ramcilovik-Suominen, University of Eastern Finland (, Giles Mohan, Open University

There is a widely shared view that development policy and development cooperation should be adapted to the local political and cultural context. Experience has shown that ‘local ownership’ and local knowledge are some of the key prerequisites for development interventions to yield positive and avoid negative implications and impacts. It is further important to consider and address the political economy, as well as the complexity of societies and their cultural settings.

Recognising a variety of organizational, cultural and political reasons that limitsdevelopment organisations’ ability to adopt their development interventions to the local context leading to top-down approaches, this working group call for theoretical and practical contributions concerning the potentials, as well as constrains for local actors andinstitutions to: i) take leadership, ii) bring forward various local actors’ interests andpriorities, iii) use local forms of social organization, and iv) emphasise local knowledge and forms of indigenous knowledge. The working group also invites contributions on alternative forms of involvement and development initiatives of external development actors.

Potential presenters can either

  • provide a conventional conference paper and presentation, or
  • experiment with alternative presentation tools, ranging from role playing, discussions, graphic images, acting performances and other artistic expressions (e.g. graphic images accompanied with short talks of 3-5 minutes focusing on one idea, one research result). In both cases, there is an open discussion after the presentation. The filed of development can vary from tradition interventions aiming at democracy and poverty, to natural resource management, climate change, air pollution, gender, etc. The focus can be wide from urban to rural setting and no limitations concerning the geographic focus.
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